To Botox or not to Botox? That's a question only you can answer. But if you're considering it to treat under-eye bags, hollowness or lines, we wanted to clear up a few things first so you get the safest, most effective results. We got the lowdown from Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, a New York City-based dermatologist and founder of Entiere Dermatology.
First things first: How does Botox actually work? "Botox works by blocking a receptor in a nerve, which will then prevent the muscle from contracting," Dr. Levin tells us. "Therefore, injecting Botox around the eyes can improve fine lines and wrinkles by softening or paralyzing the muscle that activates when you squint or smile." OK. So far, we're following.
So can you use it under the eyes? "Yes, but it's off-label," she says, meaning that Botox was not originally FDA approved to be used this way. "You should go to a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who understands the anatomy of the muscle in that area, as you need to inject very superficially and in small amounts."
What about dark circles or under-eye bags? For this, Dr. Levin suggests skipping the Botox and asking about filler, which plumps up areas that have sunken in, instead. "Filler addresses the hollows under your eyes that become more noticeable when collagen, elastin and bone resorption occurs and the skin begins to sag in the area," she explains. "By placing dermal filler in the tear trough, you can also address minor fat pad bulges and volume loss."